Tesla has been pioneering the electric car concept, and Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, has been rapidly driving this vision. The company’s aggression to disrupt the carbon reliant motor industries coupled with an increasing demand for electric cars has seen Tesla’s value exceed that of Ford, and for some short period of time, that of General Motors. However, despite all this success, employees working at some of the Tesla’s factories have complained about tough work pressure that many have attributed to Musk’s determined and aggressive production schedule. Employees in the factories who have been working hand in hand with the robotic infrastructure to deliver have also complained of life-threatening injuries at the workplace.
Since 2014, it’s estimated that ambulances have had to be called at least 100 times with workers experiencing dizziness, fainting spells, abnormalities in breathing as well as chest pains and seizures. Responding to the claims, Musk admitted that indeed Tesla’s workers have been having a hard time working on difficult jobs for long hours. Musk also went on to note that he cared deeply about the health and welfare of all the employees and that the safety record of Tesla’s factories has improved massively in the recent years.
The car maker employs nearly 10,000 workers in its factories. Musk added that comparing Tesla to other major car makers such as GM on safety standards was not fair. Even though the company has a market capitalization of $50 billion, it still accounts for just 1% of the total cars in the world. Despite this reassurance from the CEO, the accounts of current and former factory workers have been quite damning. One worker said that they were forced to work under intense pressure even through pain or injuries. Many have termed the production goals by the CEO as overly ambitious. According to Musk’s projections, Tesla is expected to make about 500,000 cars in 2018.
This will represent a 495% increase in total production in just 2 years. It’s a grueling task and it continues to rely on the muscle and labor of factory workers who based on current reports are starting to feel the pinch. The grand plan is to take Tesla through a period of explosive growth but even that comes with its challenges. Workers have also complained of forced overtime and low wages too. It is emerging that in its first years of operations, there were significant dangers in Tesla’s manufacturing practices.
The company has admitted that its Recordable Incident Rate, one which measures the rate of injuries and illnesses at the workplace was above the average in the auto industry. However, Tesla still maintains that things have changed since and manufacturing operations are far safer today compared to a few years back. The data released by the company on the Recordable Incident Rate in 2017 showed significant improvements in manufacturing safety with the rate now being 32% better than the average in the sector. The company has added that it will continue to explore more measures to further improve safety in its factories moving forward into the future.